Running Gmail with your Kindle 2

Imagine the following scenario …

  • You’re a stranger in a foreign land / airport;
  • Your smartphone is out of juice or you don’t want to pay hefty data roaming fee;
  • You cannot find a (free) WiFi hotspot for your laptop;
  • And you need to answer some emails via Gmail.

Sounds familiar ? Now you can do that if you have a Kindle 2 (or Kindle 3), as long as you can live with some constraints. As many of you already know, there is a very simple browser come with the Kindle 2, and there is a mobile version of Gmail with minimal graphics. Therefore, it makes sense to use that simple browser to access the simple web application. The constraints and preparation works are:

  1. It works only for countries / cities that support by Amazon Kindle 2’s WhisperNet  (the flip side of this is you don’t need to pay expensive data roaming fee to check emails !!)
  2. The screen of Kindle 2 is relative small;
  3. The keyboard of Kindle is hard to type;
  4. There is no scroll up and down function (you need to use Next Page and Prev Page keys);
  5. You cannot read / write double byte / Unicode characters;
  6. You will not able to attach files.
  7. In the settings of the browser, turn on Advanced view mode and turn on Javascript

Still want to continue ? OK, let’s start, step-by-step :

  1. Turn on the wireless in your Kindle. Then go to “Home” / “Menu” / “Experimental”, and select “Basic Web”
  2. You will see the bookmark page, and “Menu” / “Enter URL”, and enter m.gmail.com
  3. You will see the basic login page and enter your Gmail account information.
  4. Somehow, Gmail will display the usual Gmail screen with all the mails which makes the screen very busy. I believe Gmail do this because they know that the request is not from a mobile device. Now, go to the URL bar on top, and enter m.gmail.com again !!
  5. Now you shall see the mobile Gmail email list page.
  6. Press “Next Page” key till you reach the last page, locate “Compose Mail” command …
  7. Enter the from address, to address, subject line and mail content. Add CC, or BCC if needed. Press “Send” and that’s it …

Don’t forget to “Sign out” (in the mobile Gmail page footer) before you turn off the Kindle !!

Enjoy …

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Author: Michael Yung

Michael possessed over 30 years of experience in Information Technology with focuses on complex application development, database technologies and IT strategy. He also spent the last 20 years in Internet technology, eCommerce development / operations, web usability, computer security and Public Key Infrastructure technologies.

24 thoughts on “Running Gmail with your Kindle 2”

  1. I have a kindle international (I am staying in Australia). I tried registering the kindle with an Amazon account with a US address (with a non-US credit card registered and 1-click turned ON), but I still couldn’t access the internet except for Wikipedia. Australia is one of the countries that has access to Whispernet. Anybody manage to get web browsing to work in Australia?

    Like

    1. Hi Lawrence,

      You wrote “you tried registering”, so did you get it registered ? Also, in Kindle there are many bookmarked sites, have you tried others ? Let me know more details and would see how to make it work in down-under. 😎

      Cheers

      Like

  2. Yes, I did register the kindle under a US-addressed account. I registered it via Kindle, rather than on computer (Amazon’s Manage My Kindle webpage) as I did not want to hide my Australian IP. No email was sent to ask me to verify my US address.

    Of the many Kindle bookmarked sites, I am only able to access Wiki, and none other. BBC, CNN, and even Amazon do not work. I have also attempted https://www.gmail.com but to no avail.

    I have heard that people from other countries, like Belgium and Japan, are able to have full web access. Not sure if they are using the latest Kindle firmware/software though. I have the latest firmware.

    Like

    1. That’s kinda strange, I just use my International Kindle and browsed BBC, CNN, and Allrecipes, all worked. Just curious, have you try the 311 trick to switch to other Telco services provider and browse again ?

      Like

  3. I used the 311 method and tried all three service providers. Optus does not seem to allow the Kindle to logon to the network at all. The other two, Vodafone and Telstra, only allow the Kindle to access Wikipedia and not other websites.

    Like

  4. Hi Michael !

    In last december I bought a Kindle2 to my girlfriend (Yes, I love her that much!!) We live in Canada and we tried to access m.gmail.com with the Kindle… FAILED : “Due to local restriction, Web browsing…” The only workaround I found is to de-re-register with a US acount… Technicaly , that works… But that s*** too… 😦 Why they just don’t enable that feature when 3G network is available, whatever the country? I don’t want to crack the Amazon system, I just want to use all the features available !

    I’m really not sure I have an International Kindle… How can I check that ? The firmware version is 2.3.3

    Thanks for your help !

    Like

    1. Hi Chris,

      If you bought your Kindle last December, then I think it is the International version. It’s no easy way to check the version from your Kindle device. However, if you log in to your Amazon account, then check “Your Account / Your orders”, you shall be able to check the exact details of the product you bought.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  5. Yes, but supposing I have the International one… Why there is web browsing restriction when I use my Canadian account ? I’m abel to go to Kindle Store and Wikipedia, but the only way I found to go on gmail is to create a fake US account… It is normal ?

    In Canada, should we normaly have web browsing without restriction ? Should I contact the Kindle support ?

    It’s not really easy to get updated info for that feature… I really appreciate your advices

    Chris

    Like

  6. Hello Michael

    I use m.gmail.com just because it’s text only. But with my canadian account, both sites are blocked. I only access to Kindle Store, Wikipedia, etc…

    I’ll check with Amazon to know if we (Canadian) supposed to be able to go on the web with the international Kindle

    Thanks for your support !

    Like

  7. I can access gmail.com and it’s slow and heavy…, but can’t get into the mobile version – it doesn’t seem to want to let me enter my username and password…

    Like

  8. I have the same problem. I’ve enabled Javascript. And I don’t know where to go for entering “advanced mode”. Can anyone help?

    Like

  9. I’m with Miriam. My settings menu doesn’t have an “advanced option”. It does have one for Javascript, which is enabled. But I can’t enter the username and password. You can click the boxes, but not enter data. Seems like they deliberately downgraded the latest model (which arrived yesterday).

    Like

    1. Hi Daniel, Miriam,

      I am using 2.5.2. If you did not see the “Switch to Advanced mode” in the Settings page, do you see the “Use Advanced mode” when you press “Menu” button in the Bookmark page ? You can also toggle the Basic / Advanced mode there.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  10. I have the Kindle 3.0.2 and I experience the same problems as Chris. I live and work in Austria in the last few years, so I ordered myself an International Kindle and now I can only browse through Wikipedia and Kindle Store.

    How do I fix this? What is meant by a US account?

    Like

    1. Hi Leo,

      I have the Kindle 2 and things are OK, may be this restriction only applies to Kindle 3 ? US Account means you register account in Amazon with information like US mail address, US credit card etc..

      Hope it helps.

      Like

  11. I am thinking of getting a Kindle 3 for a trip to Italy and Spain.
    1. Is that international or is that something different
    2. I am getting this mostly for email. Has it become any easier than all of these comments?
    It sounds too difficult for a non tech person like me.
    3. If it works easily, how do I know if it will work in Italy or Spain?
    Thanks,
    Sam

    Like

    1. Hi Sam,

      The international version of Kindle works in Italy and Spain. In addition, 3G wireless connection is supported as well. So shall be handy to check email when you’re on the road. But no, there is no easier way to check email, mainly due to the fact that the browser in the Kindle is pretty basic.

      Hope it helps.

      Like

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